In brief: CMS updates on competitive bidding
BALTIMORE - CMS announced last week that it was in the process of mailing letters to referral agents in the nine competitive bidding areas that the program starts Jan. 1. Referral agents include Medicare enrolled providers, physicians, treating practitioners, discharge planners, social workers and pharmacists who refer beneficiaries for services in the CBAs. Find CMS's letter at www.cms.gov/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/04_Educational_Resources.asp. CMS also announced last week that it has updated the supplier locator tool for competitive bidding (find it at www.medicare.gov/supplier) and has posted a new fact sheet on repairs and replacements under competitive bidding (find it at www.cms.gov/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/04_Educational_Resources.asp).
OIG finds neb-med numbers don't add up
WASHINGTON - In 2008 and the first half of 2009, Medicare paid South Florida suppliers for 7 million units of the nebulizer medication arformoterol (brand name Brovana). The problem: the drug manufacturer and the three largest wholesalers only sold 750,000 units in the area, says a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG looked at claims for arformoterol, and compared the claims to the number of units sold to South Florida suppliers. The OIG also looked at claims for budesonide (brand name Pulmicort), using an edit that was implemented in 2008 to detect and deny excessive claims of the drug. In the six months after the edit was in place, nearly 30% of suppliers stopped billing for budesonide, says the OIG. However, payments for arformoterol more than doubled.
AHP hires private investigator
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - American HomePatient (AHP) has contracted Southfield, Mich.-based Assets International to recover assets, according to Crain's Detroit Business. Assets International is a private investigation agency. Its website states: "Assets International was founded in 2001 as an assets location company. By poring over thousands of legal documents in the United States and abroad, we have successfully reunited over 1,000 individuals and companies with cash assets (and occasionally real estate) that were due them. Most of our clients had no idea they were entitled to the funds we located for them."